Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2013-2014 Cavalier of the Year

There's one last thing to do before plunging headlong into the 2014-2015 season and the pre-basketball autumn diversion that begins it.  There's an award to hand out, and, due to popular demand, it comes once again with the traditional crappy photoshop of the winner:




This was definitely one of the more interesting votes we've had.  From the get-go it was a three-way race, and I think Joe Harris's candidacy was assisted just enough by his signature on a three-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers in recent days.  Two of those years are guaranteed, a very rare move for a second-round pick in the NBA and as much of a guarantee as you'll ever see that Harris has made the team.  Cleveland has been working on Harris's supporting cast ever since drafting him.  For now he'll have to do with some castoff from the Miami Heat, but Joe has faced down similar challenges in the past and I'm sure he'll be willing to share some of his shots.

Harris was actually not my own vote for the winner, but I think his story is a fantastic one regardless.  We have been phenomenally privileged to watch his career in Charlottesville - the kid from Chelan, Washington, who took a chance on a struggling program, worked his butt off for four years and rewarded himself, his coach, and his fans with a long-sought championship, taken from the ACC's Darth Vader under some of the brightest spotlights in the country.  And now he gets to go play with basketball's biggest star on basketball's biggest stage.  Four years of humble and hard-working, excellent basketball, rewarded with a championship and a multi-million dollar contract - it's a story you never seen in college hoops anymore.

For posterity, here are the voting results:

Joe Harris - 39
Morgan Brian - 36
Danielle Collins - 24
Jasmine Burton - 12
Nathan Kirby - 5
Kevin Parks - 3
Mark Cockerton, Alex Domijan, JB Kolod - 1
Elly Buckley, Denny McCarthy, Nick Sulzer, Courtney Swan - 0

Harris wins with one of the lowest (if not the lowest) vote totals in voting history, but that's much more a testament to the strength of the competition this year.  Collins put a national championship trophy in the case and Brian is one of the 8 or 10 best players of her sport in the whole country, not just in college.  Congrats to the winner and the nominees for once again representing the University of Virginia with nothing but the best.

Monday, July 21, 2014

kickoff

ACC media days are going on, so I think it's time to say goodbye to the offseason.  Not that it lasted very long.  What would you rather be, a UVA fan where the offseason lasted a month, or a Tech fan where it lasts eight?

I can start writing football previews as soon as the last piece of media days comes out - the preseason all-ACC team.  So I think the first one will be Wednesday.  Being that I save UVA's for last, the football kickoff around these parts will only be a few odds and ends of thoughts today.

-- The football roster is out.  It came out after the basketball roster, which would be a bit odd except I'm never fully capable of accounting for the behavior of the athletic department, especially when it comes to football and/or public relations.  (I'd guess the football roster release is timed for media days, but hell if I know.)

Anyway, the main thing to check for: Missing names.  And there are a few.  We knew of some transfers already: Jake McGee, Kye Morgan, and Demeitre Brim, to Florida, Stony Brook, and Central Florida, respectively.  Not seen on the roster, with no explanation as yet: Tyrell Chavis, C.J. Moore, Marco Jones, and Anthony Cooper.

The impact to UVA's roster is mainly theoretical, as none had ever played much if at all.  Chavis's career was imperiled from the word go, for reasons which have been purposely kept out of the public eye.  Moore fell out of favor with the new defensive staff.  Cooper and Jones represent a fair bit of missed opportunity, particularly Cooper, about whom fans will always wonder why he got immediately moved to safety, buried, and never got a shot at receiver.

That much attrition puts the roster at 81 scholarship players, so, with 18 seniors and a smallish 2014 class (i.e. plenty of room to work in some early enrollees from '15) it's possible, in an ideal non-hot-seat-coach world, to barrel past the limit of 25 players with no problem.  The actual problem might be finding enough players - good players, not guys we stole from Liberty - to fill the class.  Between attrition, plenty of room, and the difficulties of the trail, any coaching change this year will crush our depth something fierce.

-- As if there weren't enough attrition, this little gem came out of media days too: "Mike London says LT Jay Whitmire will "likely" miss the start of the season due to back issues."  Oh, goody.  Can't wait to see what the O-line looks like without its best veteran.  There's a reason I harangue on the depth issues there.

-- You've also got the preseason team poll coming out today.  Florida State took 109 of 112 first-place votes in the Atlantic Conference; guess which was the only team not to get any first-place votes in the Coastal?

It's easy to say we're really blowing a big opportunity here, what with such parity existing in the Coastal, but I'm looking a little deeper.  There are 112 voters and we got 142 points in the poll.  Math skillz tell me that somewhere between 5 and 30 voters picked UVA not-last in the division - and five would mean those five picked us second, so it's probably much closer to 30.  Another step or two of logic tells us this about the ballots of those that didn't put UVA in the cellar: those people think a 2-10 team is better than another team that somebody thought is the best in the division.  Pitt and Georgia Tech are both someone's champion, and likely enough, someone's worse-than-UVA.  That's parity alright.

Also, UNC got the second-most #1 votes but is 4th; VT got the 4th-most #1 votes but also is the only Coastal team picked to unseat FSU as ACC champ.

-- I've updated the depth chart by class and will do so again if and when a fall-camp depth chart is published.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

2014 baseball recruits, part 1

I usually write this series earlier in the year, but then, the baseball season usually ends earlier in the year.  The baseball team is going to have quite a few holes to fill in the field next year - more holes than we had semi-regulars.  The pitching staff is OK, but the lineup loses the majority of its composition, with openings at first, second, catcher, left, and center.

Catcher is probably spoken for with Robbie Coman likely to fill in for Nate Irving, and I'd guess from here that John LaPrise will take over at second while Matt Thaiss is the top candidate to fill in the DH spot left open by LaPrise.  It's too bad Rob Bennie decided to leave the team because with two outfield slots coming open, he'd have been a prime candidate.  Other than returning starters, the full list of other unmentioned position players on the roster is Thomas Woodruff, Tyler Allen, and Tony Butler.  Woodruff is a rising senior who's played in 24 games with no starts in three years; the others might have more untapped potential, but their appearances were extremely limited this year.

So incoming position players, particularly outfielders, have about as good a path to immediate playing time as could be expected.  The Hoos also lose four key bullpen pitchers, but are a little more capable of filling from within, so probably at most one or two of the incoming five pitchers might play decent-sized roles.

There were 11 commitments for the year, 10 of which will show up in the fall; time to see about them.

Derek Casey - RHP
Hanover HS (VA)
Drafted: 22nd round (675th overall), Cardinals

Don't be fooled by the low-ish draft selection.  Casey is one of the most college-ready pitchers in the nation, and had a much higher draft projection going in.  In fact, he had an offer from the Chicago Cubs for a $900,000 bonus if they took him in the 3rd or 4th round, and turned it down.  The 22nd-round pick is just a flyer at that point.

Casey is a really hard thrower, with a fastball that reaches 94, 95.  The MLB scouting report suggests his secondary stuff is behind his fastball, developmentally, but Perfect Game likes his stuff just fine.  It could be that Casey will follow the Nathan Kirby path, where Kirby's perpetually hanging curve and flat fastball led to him being beaten around as a freshman, but once he figured it out - whoa.  In any event, Casey looks like a prime candidate to see a lot of time on the hill right away.  He likes the idea of closing, though Oak and K's may want a more polished pitcher in that role in the short term (Sborz?).  But the sky's the limit here, and while most of the top roles on the staff are likely spoken for next year, one of them - weekend starter, closer, etc. - is Casey's for the taking eventually.

Charlie Cody - INF
Great Bridge HS (VA)
Undrafted

UVA kept the Great Bridge pipeline going (Cody will follow Connor Jones from the Wildcats to the Hoos) and beat out a few pretty big teams for his commitment.  UNC, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina were all on Cody pretty hard.  Cody has been a prospect for a long time, hitting .477 as a freshman and never really letting up his whole high school career.

Except, that is, this year, when he broke his hand early in the year and lost most of his senior season.  Cody plays third base for Great Bridge, and might've gotten a later-round pickup from a major league team without that injury.  He's described as having good speed and very good, though not quite elite, all-around skills as an infielder and a hitter.

UVA has a veteran third baseman coming back next year in Kenny Towns, but Towns is a senior, making Cody a candidate for that job as a sophomore in 2016.  Earlier playing time, if any, is likely to be found at second if Cody can make that demanding transition, or possibly first base (though he wouldn't be the only freshman candidate for that job, and Pavin Smith would be tough competition.)  Cody's no sure thing to pan out as a full-time starter, but should be considered at least a strong candidate.

Tommy Doyle - RHP
Flint Hill HS (VA)
Drafted: 35th round (1054th overall), Nationals

Not quite on the level of Casey as a prospect, Doyle was nonetheless on the radar screens of the pros.  He's another one that might've been picked higher had he not been committed to UVA.  I'm going to attach a healthy level of skepticism to the "first three rounds" projection from "a scout" as there's much less concrete foundation for that than Casey's much more solid offer, but there's still plenty of evidence for his being a real prospect in the draft.

Doyle finished his senior season as the co-Player of the Year in VISAA's Division I (this is the private-school league in the state) and allowed just one earned run all season.  Doyle's a big, tall, hardthrowing righty - his fastball isn't quite the speed of Casey's, but perhaps most important for his projectability, Doyle already pitches from that little squat that Karl Kuhn teaches.  Doyle already looks remarkably like a UVA pitcher, and as such, should be a top candidate of this class to at least fill one of the open bullpen roles in 2015.

Devon Fisher - C
Western Branch HS (VA)
Drafted: 20th round (614th overall), Red Sox

Fisher signed following the draft for about a $300K bonus, so he won't be coming to UVA.  In an interview which I can't find anymore, Fisher mentioned that college was a back-up plan all along, which makes you wonder - if so, why commit to one that effectively puts a PROS STAY AWAY sign on your back?  $300K is a way-above-slot bonus for a 20th-rounder, but even so it seems possible Fisher would've earned more money by signing with a different school.  At any rate, "backup plan" is something he certainly never mentioned to the UVA coaches, who won't recruit a player whose pro leanings are too heavy.  Best not to shed too many tears over this one and move on.

Jack Gerstenmaier - INF
Freeman HS (VA)
Undrafted

Reportedly a package deal with Cody, Gerstenmaier joins a somewhat crowded infield.  Like most top infield prospects, he's a high school shortstop, and he's a good enough athlete to be a pretty good football player too, playing running back his senior year at Douglas Freeman.  (An idea which BOC not only supported, but encouraged.)

Not much is available on Gerstenmaier other than the usual lineup of accolades - all-state team, that kind of thing.  Baseball America calls him "a heady middle infielder with a contact-oriented bat who will likely move to second base in the pros" which sort of suggests he might make that move sooner rather than later.  I've been wrong before (see Waddell, Brandon) but the best guess here is that Gerstenmaier will stash for a year before being a really serious candidate for a starting job.  He could turn out to be a four-year rather than three-year player, a glue-guy regular or semi-regular as a veteran.

Adam Haseley - OF/LHP
The First Academy (FL)
Undrafted

Could be that Haseley is the best undrafted member of the class.  A lefty at the plate and on the mound (precluding his ever moving to the infield except as a 1B) Haseley is tough to project, because he's expected to continue his two-way game in college.  MLB's scouting report calls him "one of the best two-way talents in this year's Draft class" and his outstanding two-way results got him on Baseball America's second team of all-American high schoolers, a list that no other UVA commit made.  (And first overall pick Brady Aiken?  Third-teamer.)

Haseley is one of two outfielders in the class, and the roster next year projects to be so thin on outfielders that it's highly possible an infielder makes the move back.  Haseley and fellow freshman Christian Lowry join returning players Joe McCarthy and Tyler Allen.  Right field is spoken for, but the rest of that competition is wide open.  Like Nick Howard, then, Haseley could start his career in the field and continue to work on his pitching, and blossom later as a pitcher.  For 2015, it's likely we'll see his bat before we see his pitching arm, and he's as likely as any to find himself in the starting lineup come the spring.

**************************************************

Five more players to go, who'll be chronicled next week.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

the recruit: Ryan Bischoff

Name: Ryan Bischoff
Position: OG
Hometown: Plymouth Meeting, PA
School: Plymouth-Whitemarsh
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 305

24/7: 82, three stars; #77 OG, PA #32
ESPN: 73, three stars; #84 OG, PA #32, East #154
Rivals: 5.3, two stars
Scout: three stars

Other offers: None

Juan Thornhill committed before 2014's Signing Day, so Ryan Bischoff is really the first pickup of the cycle.  Being someone who harps and harps and harps on the lack of OL depth, I wasn't at all unhappy to see that first commitment be a lineman.

Like Thornill, Bischoff committed before getting any other offers.  Unlike Thornhill, Bischoff had a little time to receive them; his verbal to UVA was in April.  Does that mean less excitement?  Perhaps a smidge.  Bischoff is a tough prospect to evaluate.  He does have good size, and more than one evaluator suggests he should easily be able to pack on more.  I'll buy it; he's listed in a Philly.com article at 310 pounds, and though the accompanying picture is almost certainly not of a 310-pound kid, it does show how easily he carries a big frame.  310 also happens to be the largest listing of a scholarship player on the UVA roster.  Bischoff could nose his way up to perhaps, say, 325.  Perfect for a big guard.

It's also fairly easy to project him to guard, for two reasons.  One, if he had tackle-worthy footwork he'd be a four-star prospect at his size.  Two, his team runs the ball almost exclusively.  Rivals and Scout each have a different Hudl highlight tape, and in about ten minutes of highlights I think I saw three or four pass plays.  One of which was a receiver screen and another a regular screen.  Maybe one actual, real, drop-back pass with a pocket.  It's largely a read-option offense.  Therein lies the aforementioned difficulty in evaluating.

As such, you can start to see why the lack of early offers.  A guy like that, most teams will see his film and say, OK, let's get him into camp and see if he can do the stuff we want him to do.  Also, the only in-depth evaluation available is ESPN's, and they use the word "flash" (or "flashes") five times.  Honestly, that's not a great sign; it means "can, but doesn't always."  Still, you get the impression his chances to diversify his skill set are limited.

The sum, then, is a player whose impressive size and good strength are well ahead of his technical skills.  Guard naturally offers a faster route to the field, being well-suited to really, really huge guys and with less to learn overall.  It's hard to project a pathway, though.  OG is a bit more of a bottom-heavy position in terms of class; if Steven Moss comes in as a guard, then I count three or four freshman (true or redshirt) and only one freshman at tackle at most.  But it's also way up in the air.  The likely starters are Conner Davis and I guess Ross Burbank.  The post-spring depth chart has three guys who've played meaningful snaps, and so a lot depends on what happens with guys like Jack McDonald, Ryan Doull, Jake Fieler, Sean Karl, and so on.  Bischoff needs time to develop - almost all linemen do, Bischoff perhaps more than many - and the best thing will be if a solid group of next men up emerges.  If there's any pressure to toss Bischoff into the fire early, either he's a very pleasant surprise that belies his low-three-star, limiting-offense pedigree, or we're in trouble.  Much better is that Bischoff follows a path similar to Davis: getting stashed for two years and coming out of storage bigger and stronger and ready to watch his role expand to where he's just a given as a fifth-year senior.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

vote for the 2013-2014 Cavalier of the Year

You've read the bios, or at least, you've got no excuse for not doing so, and now it's time to choose.  I leave the selection of the Cavalier of the Year in your capable hands.  For a refresher, here's a link to each of the candidates:

Morgan Brian - Women's soccer

Jasmine Burton - Volleyball

Elly Buckley - Field hockey

Mark Cockerton - Men's lacrosse

Danielle Collins - Women's tennis

Alex Domijan - Men's tennis

Joe Harris - Men's basketball

Nathan Kirby - Baseball

JB Kolod - Men's diving

Denny McCarthy - Men's golf

Kevin Parks - Football

Nick Sulzer - Wrestling

Courtney Swan - Women's lacrosse

There's a national champion here, there's a national player of the year, several conference players of the year, one conference freshman of the year, multiple all-Americans, and I'd say no fewer than three who can legitimately be called the best to ever suit up for UVA at their sport.

(That bears repeating: Three of these athletes, and honestly, the potential is there for more depending on how they do later on, are UVA's best in our history.  That's truly outstanding.)

A few requests, which are the same every year;

-- One person, one vote, please.  Honor system.

-- If you so fervently believe in your chosen candidate that you want to campaign for them, I have no problem with this.  I encourage this.  But I'd appreciate a note in the comments with a link, especially if you're doing so on Facebook, so I can follow along.

-- As always, I get to interpret the voting how I like, of which the most probable outcome by far is that there's a shared award.  I trust this doesn't offend anyone.  It hasn't yet.

Voting will close on Thursday, July 23 at 5:00 PM, so that I can get busy writing up the winner and then spend one weekend relaxing before it's actually time to start the football previews.

FOV Cavalier of the Year #11/#12/#13

From Old Virginia celebrates its birthday in a unique way: by recognizing one of Virginia's student-athletes as the Cavalier of the Year. What are the criteria for the award? You decide; that's the beauty. I nominate the 12 athletes that I think have been the most outstanding during the latest season of UVA athletics, and provide a short summary of their accomplishments. You choose the winner in a poll that goes up after all 12 have had their moment in the spotlight. The full list of nominees is here.  

Over the next few weeks, two athletes at a time will be profiled, and you'll hear about what they've accomplished while representing Mr. Jefferson's University this year. The athletes are presented in a totally random order so as to hopefully not imply any endorsement one way or another. Athletes from all fields are considered; the point is to emphasize that UVA is about excellence across the entire department and doesn't shortchange its so-called non-revenue sports simply because they don't make headlines.  Today's athletes: Denny McCarthy, Mark Cockerton, and Courtney Swan.

Denny McCarthy - Men's golf


Team accomplishments:

-- Won Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate
-- Won Jim West Intercollegiate with second-best score by an ACC team in history
-- Won Wolfpack Intercollegiate

Personal accomplishments:

-- Runner-up at ACC championship
-- Finished sixth at NCAA championship
-- PING and Golfweek all-America second-teams
-- First UVA golfer to be named to Ben Hogan Award watchlist
-- VaSID golfer of the year
-- Maryland State Amateur champion

In fits and starts, the UVA men's golf team is starting to do things on the national scene.  Right now you've got Steve Marino as just about the only major UVA alum on the tour, but that could change when Denny McCarthy graduates.  This year's edition of the team was up and down in unprecedented ways; for example, they started that Bank of Tennessee tournament 10th of 14 teams and won it over the following two days.  The team's 45-under-par performance at the Jim West Intercollegiate has only ever been beaten once by an ACC team - a Georgia Tech tourney win in 2005.  UVA's previous best score had been in 1993.

McCarthy is the team's top player, easily, and he's rocketed up the leaderboard over the past three years at the NCAAs.  As a freshman he was 77th; last year he was 22nd; this spring, 6th.  That's the second-best finish by a Hoo, ever; not even Marino ever finished in the top ten.  The best?  Dixon Brooke, the 1940 NCAA champion.  McCarthy might need to match that before we declare him the best ever UVA athlete at his sport, but he's still out there making history.

Mark Cockerton - Men's lacrosse - Attack


Team accomplishments:

-- NCAA 8 seed

Personal accomplishments:

-- All-ACC selection
-- USILA third-team all-American
-- Second-straight 40-goal season

Mark Cockerton's career got off to a bit of a slow start, which is understandable since UVA lacrosse always has upperclassmen in the way.  With 29 goals spread across his first two seasons, he didn't seem to be on pace to write himself a spot in the record books.  That changed in a hurry.  Here at the end of his senior season, Cockerton has become the 15th player in UVA history to record 100 career goals; perhaps even more impressively, his junior year (I did say that these nominations sometimes have a lifetime-achievement aspect) is the 4th-highest-scoring single season in UVA history.

And for an encore, Cockerton followed up a 49-goal season with a 47-goal one, placing that season 6th on the all-time list.  Cockerton is now only 1 of 3 Hoos in history to have two 40-goal seasons; he joins Doug Knight and Chris Bocklet in that category, and like those two, has two seasons in UVA's all-time top 10.  Given the illustrious names in UVA lacrosse history, finding a spot among them and accomplishing something many of them didn't, that's an eye-opener for sure.

Courtney Swan - Women's lacrosse - Attack


Team accomplishments:

-- Reached NCAA Final Four

Personal accomplishments:

-- Tewaaraton Trophy nominee
-- Elite 89 Award
-- IWCLA second-team all-American; first-team all-South
-- Second-team all-ACC
-- Academic all-ACC
-- Second-most draw controls in UVA history (single-season)
-- Third-most draw controls in UVA history (career)

Courtney Swan is a pretty good scorer, as scorers go; her 53 goals was 21st in the country, and 80 points was 16th.  (Women's lax is higher-scoring than men's, largely because you can't club the shit out of the ballcarrier.)  That's really not what lands her here, though; more than just about any UVA athlete, Swan is the total package.

For one, a few breaks her way this coming season could see her break two Brittany Kalkstein records for draw controls, both single-season and career; Swan already came within one this past season (96, to Kalkstein's 97.)  For another thing, that Elite 89 Award?  One is awarded in every sport; it's for the athlete at the NCAA "championship site" (for lacrosse, that would be the Final Four) with the highest GPA.  It's not that old of an award; it was first awarded in 2009-2010, and Swan is the second UVA athlete to receive it.  Getting recognized for both athletic and academic elite-ness; that's the very definition of a Cavalier of the Year.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

the school: Louisville

That sound you heard on the first of July was that of a door hitting a turtle in the butt.  Conference realignment, except for a few stragglers next year (mainly Navy joining the AAC) drags itself to a welcome (though likely temporary) halt with Maryland making their move to the Midwest official and a Midwesternish / Southernish school taking their place.

I'm sort of warming to the idea of Louisville in the ACC, because personally I've always thought of the ACC as mainly a southern conference rather than an eastern one.  So while I find Notre Dame's presence still a bit unsettling, a school in the state of Kentucky seems to work.

Like last year with the three new additions, we need to profile this one, especially since they're UVa's default rival for no other reason than they're Maryland's replacement.  I don't care for this, by the way.  It's nothing personal, Louisvillians.  You guys seem so darn happy to be here, I can't begrudge it, and who can blame you when this is basically a lifeboat to the big time?  It's just that I'm a little annoyed at the laziness of the league; Louisville is not a school for whom I can work up as healthy a hatred as I had (have) for Maryland, and would prefer they juggle things a bit to make the rivalries a little more traditional.  That said, I think this is a very temporary situation, at least in football.  Do not be surprised if, by the end of the year, a new scheduling model comes out.

I digress, though.  Last year we looked at each newcomer's prowess through the lens of the Director's Cup, and we'll do the same again.  As an added bonus, we'll also compare to Maryland.  It's only natural, really.  There's a feeling, in general, that Louisville is actually an upgrade athletically, so we'll find out if it's true.

First, the general profile. 16,151

Enrollment (undergrad):

1. Florida State - 31,851
x. Maryland - 26,826
2. NC State - 25,176
3. Virginia Tech - 22,824
4. North Carolina - 18,579
5. Pittsburgh - 18,427
6. Clemson - 16,931
7. Louisville - 16,151
8. Virginia - 16,087
9. Syracuse - 15,097
10. Georgia Tech - 14,558
11. Miami - 11,044
12. Boston College - 9,110
13. Notre Dame - 8,475
14. Duke - 6,495
15. Wake Forest - 4,815

The ACC loses a large flagship institution, which is going to a conference comprised of almost nothing but large flagship institutions.  Louisville is no flagship, but is practically UVa's twin in terms of size.

Academic rank (USN&WR):

1. Duke - #7
2. Notre Dame - #18
3(t). Virginia - #23
3(t). Wake Forest - #23
5. North Carolina - #30
6. Boston College - #31
7. Georgia Tech - #36
8. Miami - #47
9(t). Clemson - #62
9(t). Syracuse - #62
9(t). Pittsburgh - #62
x. Maryland - #62
12. Virginia Tech - #69
13. Florida State - #91
14. NC State - #101
15. Louisville - #161

So about that.  Louisville was originally considered sort of an outside option at best, because of academic rankings that fall a long way outside of the usual standard for ACC schools.  The words "commuter school" have been bandied about, and while there's likely a ring of truth to that, it's largely unfair.  (Louisville claims about 6,000 residents of its dorms and various on-campus living, which is probably not very different from UVa.)   Cooler heads eventually prevailed - ones more interested in the preservation of the conference than preservation of conference-killing standards - and Louisville's ranking ceased to be a factor.  (Look, it's not like UVa is any less of a school for being in a conference with one in the triple digits.)  For the record, UConn (widely considered to be the other "finalist") fits in somewhere between Miami and the four-way tie - but then, Louisville hasn't been banned from the NCAA tournament for never graduating its basketball players.  So there's more than one side to the academics coin.

Directors' Cup average:**

1. Florida State - 8.4
2. North Carolina - 8.6
3. Virginia - 9.8
4. Duke - 10.4
5. Notre Dame - 14.8
x. Maryland - 29.6
6. Louisville - 35
7. Virginia Tech - 38.2
8. Syracuse - 52
9. Clemson - 52.2
10. NC State - 53.6
11. Miami - 60.6
12. Boston College - 65.6
13. Georgia Tech - 67.8
14. Wake Forest - 77.4
15. Pittsburgh - 112.2

**average finish in the last five years, including 2014

In terms of straight average, Louisville comes in a little less than Maryland, but it's not like the difference is huge.  Maryland took a drop recently that coincides a bit with chopping programs and losing money (the ACC has been withholding revenue-sharing from them to pay for their exit fee) while Louisville has been very steadily in the 30s the last four years, and #41 in 2010.  They got to #30 this year, just nipping Maryland at #32.  Anywhere in the top 40 or so, you can pat yourself on the back for a pretty strong program in general.  If the general conjecture is true, both Maryland and Louisville should see a bump in their performance in a few years; the fact that the Cardinals have been doing this without the benefit of major-conference money is reasonably impressive, and they were the only top-40 team outside the big five conferences this year.

Sports we play that they don't

Men:

Lacrosse
Wrestling

Women:

none

Sports they play that we don't

Men:

none

Women:

none

Pretty simple list here, and if I hadn't standardized it the last three times I did this, I wouldn't have done it here, either.  Our women's sports are exactly the same as theirs.  Our men play lacrosse and rasslin', and there exists a small bit of hope that the extra money coming into the Louisville program will be incentive enough to fix that issue when it comes to lacrosse.

Common sports

**Note: The numbers after each year are the Director's Cup points scored in that season.

Men's cross country

2009-2010: 28 (Md. 0; UVA 45)
2010-2011: 18 (Md. 0; UVA 40)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 61.5)
2013-2014: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 63)

Totals: 46; 0; 209.5

Women's cross country

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 45)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 32)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 34)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 69)

Totals: 0; 0; 180

We begin with a sport where there won't be much threat to whatever it is that UVa's doing.  Maryland's cross-country teams always ran at the back of the ACC pack - and they no longer have a men's team - and Louisville will be an improvement, but no threat to win ACC titles.

Field hockey

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 90; UVa 83)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 100; UVA 83)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 100; UVA 0)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 83; UVA 60)
2013-2014: 0 (Md. 83; UVA 25)

Totals: 0; 456; 251

Interesting dynamic here, really.  Maryland is by far the most successful team of the past decade-plus.  In the last ten years they've missed the final four once and won five national titles.  UVA is something of a perennial bridesmaid in the ACC.  We don't have a single ACC title in the history of the competition; someone, usually Maryland or UNC but sometimes Duke, is always getting in the way.

Louisville, on the other hand, is essentially an NIT-level team.  In men's lacrosse, think Fairfield or Drexel, except without even the rare tournament appearance.  They're constantly losing to UConn or ODU in their conference semifinals.  They'll probably be at least respectable to start.  In the long-term, a move to the obvious "it" conference could give them that boost they need to get over the hump; within the first couple of years, though, the likely upshot is that UVA's path to a conference championship just got a little easier.  (But then, so did UNC's.)

Football

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2010-2011: 45 (Md. 50; UVA 0)
2011-2012: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 25)
2012-2013: 63 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 60 (Md. 25; UVA 0)

Totals: 193; 75; 25

Always a little bit of a sleeping giant, Louisville rode Charlie Strong damn near to the top of the football world, culminating in that big Sugar Bowl win over Florida and following that up with a 12-1 season last year.  Strong in turn rode that success to another pinnacle of the football world with a bid to coach at Texas, and so Louisville brought back a guy who they'd had a lot of success with, but whose name became total mud since he'd left: Bobby Petrino.  Dude's a sleaze, but he was also 41-9 at Louisville.

This matters, since UVa will have to play them for the foreseeable future.  Louisville enters the Atlantic Conference and only makes it tougher at the top, adding themselves to the mix with FSU and Clemson.  Whether Randy Edsall was going to make Maryland a threat in the conference is now a moot point; the Cardinals are an upgrade in any case.

Men's soccer

2009-2010: 25 (Md. 73; UVA 100)
2010-2011: 90 (Md. 73; UVA 25)
2011-2012: 73 (Md. 64; UVA 25)
2012-2013: 73 (Md. 83; UVA 50)
2013-2014: 50 (Md. 90; UVA 83)

Totals: 311; 383; 283

The numbers tell the story here.  Traditionally, Maryland is among the strongest teams in men's college soccer, but Louisville is no slouch at all.  UVA, Maryland, Louisville; all three have made appearances in the national championship game in the past five years, and in that time the teams have combined for five Colleg Cup appearances.  The ACC merely replaces one top team with another.

Women's soccer

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 64; UVA 64)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 50; UVA 64)
2011-2012: 64 (Md. 64; UVA 73)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 50; UVA 64)
2013-2014: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 83)

Totals: 89; 228; 348

In the women's game, though, things are a little different; they're more like field hockey here.  Again, the ACC is the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of the sport, and Louisville's Big East/AAC results have been up and down.  Maryland could usually hold their own in the conference but wasn't a major contender; Louisville will probably be a downgrade.  Since the last three years saw UVa blow the Terps out of the conference tournament, the change isn't likely to make it any easier to win the conference title for ourselves.

Volleyball

2009-2010: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2010-2011: 50 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2011-2012: 50 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2012-2013: 50 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 0)

Totals: 200; 0; 0

Louisville volleyball had a habit of blowing through the Big East like a knife through wet paper and then bowing out of the NCAAs in the first or second round.  This still makes them a hell of a lot better than our team, which is only just working its way onto the plus side of the standings, and also a hell of a lot better than Maryland's team, which hasn't even made it that far.  It is a long climb to an ACC title for UVA, and getting longer with the addition of another contender.

Men's basketball

2009-2010: 25 (Md. 50; UVA 0)
2010-2011: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2011-2012: 83 (Md. 0; UVA 25)
2012-2013: 100 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 64 (Md. 0; UVA 64)

Totals: 297; 50; 89

Um, Rick Pitino, y'all.  Let's just add him to a conference with Coach K and Jim Boeheim and Tony Bennett and Roy Williams and Jamie Dixon.  Maryland was - is - spinning its wheels under Mark Turgeon, so the ACC just got a heck of a lot tougher.  Well, for the Georgia Techs of the world, anyway.  I'd like to think that it's Louisville that has to contend with the defending ACC champs, not the other way around.

Women's basketball

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 25)
2010-2011: 64 (Md. 50; UVA 0)
2011-2012: 50 (Md. 73; UVA 0)
2012-2013: 90 (Md. 64; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 73 (Md. 83; UVA 0)

Totals: 277; 187; 25

On the other hand, it's the Hoos that are spinning their wheels on this side of the sport.  Louisville and Maryland both are perennial top-25 teams - or better - so there's not much change from UVA's perspective.  We had a way to go before we could hope to contend, and still do.

Men's swimming and diving

2009-2010: 51 (Md. 0; UVA 67.5)
2010-2011: 57 (Md. 0; UVA 70.5)
2011-2012: 59 (Md. 0; UVA 60)
2012-2013: 66 (Md. 0; UVA 47)
2013-2014: 66 (Md. 0; UVA 48)

Totals: 309; 0; 293

Women's swimming and diving

2009-2010: 52.5 (Md. 48.5; UVA 69)
2010-2011: 26 (Md. 52; UVA 63)
2011-2012: 50 (Md. 38; UVA 57)
2012-2013: 52 (Md. 0; UVA 56)
2013-2014: 60 (Md. 0; UVA 66)

Totals: 240.5; 138.5; 311

Maryland axed their swimming programs a couple years ago, so the upshot here will be to add a team back to the mix.  And a pretty good one, on both ends.  Our men's team finished a miserable fourth at the ACC championships this year, which I don't have to tell you is the proverbial UNACCEPTABLE, and bringing in Louisville adds a potent challenger to the mix.

Baseball

2009-2010: 50 (Md. 0; UVA 64)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 83)
2011-2012: 50 (Md. 0; UVA 25)
2012-2013: 73 (Md. 0; UVA 64)
2013-2014: 73 (Md. 64; UVA 90)

Totals: 246; 64; 326

Maryland's surprising super regional run notwithstanding, this is a huge and relatively high-profile upgrade.  There aren't cross-division rivals in baseball, so we really have no idea whether we'll even play Louisville right away, but they'll certainly make the pathetic Atlantic rather more worthwhile.  The Cardinals have put in an appearance in Omaha each of the last two seasons; they've never won there, but this move to the ACC can only help them - and the conference.

Men's golf

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 65.25)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 27.5)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 51.5)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 39)
2013-2014: 21.5 (Md. 0; UVA 33.5)

Totals: 21.5; 0; 216.75

Women's golf

2009-2010: 33 (Md. 21; UVA 63)
2010-2011: 40 (Md. 0; UVA 80)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 24; UVA 80)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 42)
2013-2014: 20.5 (Md. 0; UVA 61.5)

Totals: 93.5; 45; 326.5

Our men's team isn't a big contender, typically finishing mid-pack in the conference tournament and scraping a few national points here and there.  The women's team, quietly, is one of the better ones in the country; not quite a major contender for the national championship, but they're generally in strong contention for ACC titles.  Maryland is none of the above and Louisville is a bit better, but not going to be a big deal.

Women's lacrosse

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 100; UVA 60)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 90; UVA 25)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 83; UVA 25)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 90; UVA 70)
2013-2014: 53 (Md. 100; UVA 83)

Totals: 53; 463; 263

Again, like field hockey, the ACC is taking a pretty big downgrade here.  Maryland is a powerhouse, and working on a six-year Final Four streak.  Louisville's team is relatively new, playing their first season in 2008.  They've been a mediocre Big East team most of their existence, with the exception of one horrible year in 2012 and one really good one this year.  If they carry that success forward, they'll present a challenge, but the ACC is a much different beast than the Big East, even without Maryland.

Rowing

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 100)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 63)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 100)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 75)
2013-2014: 40 (Md. 0; UVA 75)

Totals: 40; 0; 413

Nothing to see here.  Maryland has no team, so there'll be one extra boat at the ACC championships; regardless, nobody's touching UVA any time soon.

Softball

2009-2010: 50 (Md. 25; UVA 0)
2010-2011: 50 (Md. 25; UVA 0)
2011-2012: 50 (Md. 25; UVA 0)
2012-2013: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 0)

Totals: 200; 75; 0

Like rowing, but the other way around.  UVA went 8-43 this year with half a roster.  Yes, that's the nadir, one hopes, but Louisville is too good a team for us to care where they land in the conference.  (Near the top, most likely, but not quite championship material.)

Men's tennis

2009-2010: 64 (Md. 0; UVA 83)
2010-2011: 50 (Md. 50; UVA 90)
2011-2012: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 90)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 100)
2013-2014: 25 (Md. 0; UVA 83)

Totals: 164; 50; 446

Back to not caring where in the hierarchy they land, so long as it's behind us.  Louisville has a respectable tennis team, but it's about to join the fight for second place.  Actually, playing in a conference will be somewhat new to them; the Big East had a conference tournament but its teams didn't really play each other during the season.  Louisville's been playing against ACC teams more than Big East teams, and the Cardinals more or less split those matches.

Women's tennis

2009-2010: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 50)
2010-2011: 0 (Md. 25; UVA 64)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 64)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 64)
2013-2014: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 73)

Totals: 0; 25; 315

Very little to speak of here; Louisville usually has had winning records, but they pad out their schedule with a lot of fluff, and haven't had an invite to the NCAAs since 2008.  They won't be a big factor in the ACC, and UVA should expect to beat them most if not all of the time.

Men's track and field

2009-2010: 56 (Md. 0; UVA 49.5)
2010-2011: 46 (Md. 25.5; UVA 46)
2011-2012: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 15)
2012-2013: 13 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 0 (Md. 0; UVA 25)

Totals: 115; 25.5; 135.5

Women's track and field

2009-2010: 36 (Md. 42.5; UVA 0)
2010-2011: 27 (Md. 0; UVA 44)
2011-2012: 22 (Md. 0; UVA 0)
2012-2013: 0 (Md. 9; UVA 0)
2013-2014: 61.5 (Md. 35; UVA 18)

Totals: 146.5; 86.5; 62

Consistent success in this sport has eluded Louisville, the same as it's eluded UVA and Maryland, and it's going to be hard to predict anything here other than that Louisville probably will be better than Maryland was and won't be a huge threat to win any ACC titles.

************************************************

Yes, I took an extended break for the Fourth, there, and I'll do it again next week, too.  Part of it was, I was totally going to write a weekend review yesterday and then I realized, most of the stuff I wanted to write about was from Jeff White's column.  So just read that instead.

Summer break for me starts this Friday, but I'll write stuff Wednesday and Thursday, and then Thursday and Friday next week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

FOV Cavalier of the Year #9/#10

From Old Virginia celebrates its birthday in a unique way: by recognizing one of Virginia's student-athletes as the Cavalier of the Year. What are the criteria for the award? You decide; that's the beauty. I nominate the 12 athletes that I think have been the most outstanding during the latest season of UVA athletics, and provide a short summary of their accomplishments. You choose the winner in a poll that goes up after all 12 have had their moment in the spotlight. The full list of nominees is here.  

Over the next few weeks, two athletes at a time will be profiled, and you'll hear about what they've accomplished while representing Mr. Jefferson's University this year. The athletes are presented in a totally random order so as to hopefully not imply any endorsement one way or another. Athletes from all fields are considered; the point is to emphasize that UVA is about excellence across the entire department and doesn't shortchange its so-called non-revenue sports simply because they don't make headlines.  Today's athletes: Nathan Kirby and JB Kolod.

Nathan Kirby - Baseball - Starting pitcher


Team accomplishments:

-- College World Series
-- National runner-up

Personal accomplishments:

-- ACC Co-Pitcher of the Year
-- Louisville Slugger All-American
-- Invited to Team USA Collegiate National Team
-- One-time Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week
-- Threw no-hitter against Pittsburgh

Normally I hate that I usually write up the baseball nominee before the team has finished playing, because I want to fit in their whole season of accomplishments.  Now I hate that I waited til after they were done.  I wouldn't want the final result, and the final innings thrown by Kirby, to color anyone's perception here.

Truth is, Kirby was the best player UVa had all season, and it wasn't even close, which is really saying something considering the talent level here.  He pulled off an amazing turnaround from a less than stellar freshman season, and this year, validated every ounce of the excitement level surrounding him as a recruit and then some.  Kirby was virtually unhittable most of the year and literally unhittable on one special night in Pittsburgh, during which he not only no-hit the Panthers but issued only one walk - that and a first-inning error were the only things spoiling a perfect game.  Kirby struck out 18 hitters in that effort, one fewer than the school (and ACC) record for one game.  The ACC doesn't name a single player of the year, preferring to divide it between pitchers and position players, and couldn't settle on just one pitcher, either. Nevertheless, Kirby now has the chance to become the second player to win two ACC Pitcher of the Year awards - following in the footsteps of none other than Danny Hultzen.

JB Kolod - Men's swimming and diving - Diver


Team accomplishments:

-- 26th at NCAA championship meet

Personal accomplishments:

-- National 7th-place finish in 3-meter diving
-- National 10th-place finish in platform diving
-- First UVa diver to earn multiple all-American honors in one year
-- Set UVa records in 1-meter and 3-meter diving
-- One-time ACC Male Diver of the Week

I don't normally like to put things this way in this forum, but, the men's swim team was nowhere near up to snuff this year.  Normally what happens at the NCAA meet is that a whole bunch of our swimmers go out there and bring home a gob of points, usually enough to finish somewhere between 5th and 15th.  Our divers aren't usually part of this deal.

This year - it was the other way around.  The swimmers were almost totally unrepresented in the point-scoring portion of the meet, and it fell to JB Kolod to carry the team, which he did, earning 19 of UVa's 23 points.

Kolod's two top-ten finishes gave him all-American status in those events; not only is he the first UVa diver ever to do that twice in one year, but those are also the highest finishes ever for a UVa diver.  (Technically, the platform finish is honorable mention AA; you get the whole thing for a top-8 finish.  Still - the point remains.)  That, plus his springboard records, is enough to easily cement Kolod as the greatest diver in UVa's history.  Earn that title and rescue a floundering effort at the national championship meet to boot - there's absolutely no doubting Kolod's credentials for Cavalier of the Year.

Monday, June 30, 2014

the recruit: Juan Thornhill

Name: Juan Thornhill
Position: S
Hometown: Altavista
School: Altavista
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175

24/7: 88, three stars; #51 ATH, VA #21
ESPN: 73, three stars; #73 S, VA #30, East #152
Rivals: 5.7, three stars; #21 S, VA #15
Scout: three stars

Other offers: None

I guess it's the offseason now, and what that means is: football is up next.  And that means it's time to get on with introducing the recruiting class of 2015.  Might as well get one thing out of the way right off the bat: We can't say with any certainty at all that this crop will ever play for Mike London and staff.  No projection I can make could ever take into account what happens if the ax falls - in fact, it's a near-certainty I'll profile an eventual decommit - so let's just keep that in mind every time there's a new recruit profile, and never speak of it again.  At least in this context.

In this case at least, the commitment is likely to stick.  Juan Thornhill is a self-professed UVa fan, an especially interesting tidbit in light of the fact that he hails from a part of the state that's widely considered VT country.  It's very rare for UVa to find a recruit from any point in Virginia west of Charlottesville - you can count them on one hand going back to 2006, like so: Thornhill, Michael Biesemier, Mike Rocco, Alex Owah, B.J. Cabbell.  And Owah didn't exactly stick so you can go back another year to find a few guys from that region in the '05 class, notably Chris Cook.

Thornhill and Altavista play in the VHSL's lowest division, 1A - small schools playing other small schools.  He's easily the best athlete in that division, having been named not only the Defensive POY in football, but the basketball POY too.  As such, he naturally plays quarterback as well as various defensive positions for his team, and piles up stats with ease.  Thornhill led Altavista to state championships in both football and hoops this year; for schools of that size, he's a once in a generation player.

He didn't wait around for any other offers to come his way, though; he committed to UVa last November, the same day he got his offer from London.  A guy who's the biggest fish in his pond who doesn't wait for any other offers is one committed player.  That just leaves the question of - how good is he really?

Well, there's a bit of a range of opinions.  Scout pretty much mailed in their evaluation, as they tend to do for UVa's early commits, but ESPN isn't high on him.  They like his instincts as a defender but are real lukewarm on his athleticism and build.  Actually even that's pretty encouraging, because safeties don't have to be wildly athletic to be effective.  (It helps, but it's not essential.)  Rivals and 24/7 have him in the top 20 players in the state, though, and while 24/7 is starting to show a pattern of being fairly generous with their stars, earning a high-three-star from Rivals is worth a look.  We'll probably never know how other schools might have viewed him unless some of them start sniffing around in the event of a coaching change, but Thornhill doesn't seem like the type to entertain those efforts, and we'll likely never hear.  I'd guess VT eventually would've offered, possibly Maryland and WVU as well, and some of the North Carolina schools.

It's still up in the air what position Thornhill would play, but safety has always seemed the most likely.  At 175 pounds he'll definitely want to put on some weight, but it shouldn't surprise if he's more like 185-190 this time next year - that was measured in the middle of his junior year in high school, after all.  And when the most critical ranker still likes your instincts and ability to see the field, it's another point in favor of a position that demands those skills.  (Thornhill is a point guard on the hardwood, so.)

Assuming safety is the path, the depth chart looks kind of jammed at first blush (you know how I harp on that) but there's still opportunity.  Quin Blanding will not be redshirting, so if Thornhill does, there won't be any players in the class in between them.  Two starters will be seniors this year, and other than Blanding (who'll be given every opportunity) and Kelvin Rainey (who started showing some promise in 2013 as a redshirt freshman) the rest of the depth chart is full of unknown quantities and some guys whose chance has largely passed them by.  Rainey and Wil Wahee will graduate after Thornhill's redshirt freshman season (or sophomore season, but I hope not that) and so the path should be clear for Thornhill to be a three-year contributor, if managed properly.

Friday, June 27, 2014

FOV Cavalier of the Year #7/#8

From Old Virginia celebrates its birthday in a unique way: by recognizing one of Virginia's student-athletes as the Cavalier of the Year. What are the criteria for the award? You decide; that's the beauty. I nominate the 12 athletes that I think have been the most outstanding during the latest season of UVA athletics, and provide a short summary of their accomplishments. You choose the winner in a poll that goes up after all 12 have had their moment in the spotlight. The full list of nominees is here.  

Over the next few weeks, two athletes at a time will be profiled, and you'll hear about what they've accomplished while representing Mr. Jefferson's University this year. The athletes are presented in a totally random order so as to hopefully not imply any endorsement one way or another. Athletes from all fields are considered; the point is to emphasize that UVA is about excellence across the entire department and doesn't shortchange its so-called non-revenue sports simply because they don't make headlines.  Today's athletes: Elly Buckley and Alex Domijan.

Elly Buckley - Field hockey - Forward


Team accomplishments:

-- NCAA tournament
-- Ranked #4 midseason

Personal accomplishments:

-- Fourth all-American recognition
-- Fourth all-ACC recognition
-- Two-time ACC Player of the Week
-- NFHCA all-South
-- VaSID Player of the Year

When Paige Selenski graduated, UVa's field hockey team had a huge void to fill.  It wasn't a real big mystery who would do the job, though.  Elly Buckley has spent her last three years playing Scottie Pippen.  You can't really say she played in Selenski's shadow, long though that shadow may have been; this year Buckley became the fourth player in UVa history to be a four-time all-American.  Clearly people have been taking notice, throughout her career.

Interestingly, the conference has 13 players in its history that've been four-time all-Americans, but only 11 that've been four-time all-ACC; Buckley is on both lists.  She was an easy choice, having led the conference in goals, and, I didn't even know they kept track of this stuff for players other than goalies, but, defensive saves as well.  Truly an all-around star; Buckley was everything to the UVa field hockey team this year.

Alex Domijan - Men's tennis - #1 singles/doubles


Team accomplishments:

-- ACC champions
-- NCAA semifinals
-- Set ACC all-sport record for consecutive conference wins

Personal accomplishments:

-- ACC Player of the Year
-- VaSID Player of the Year
-- ITA Atlantic Region Senior Player of the Year
-- ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award
-- 6th seed in NCAA individual singles tournament

Another sport, another best player in the ACC for UVa.  We are getting so embarrassingly full of them that it almost seems like generosity to have let someone else win it in football.  There's no such magnanimity in men's tennis, though - on their way to their 8th straight ACC championship, the UVa men's tennis team became the most dominant team of any kind in ACC history.  They finished the season with their consecutive win streak over ACC competition at 122.

Alex Domijan finished his own season with a dominant 26-3 mark in singles play, and 22-4 in doubles; he was ranked #9 in the country after the year wrapped up.  He pulled in multiple POY recognitions, and that Sportsmanship Award is for "sportsmanship, character, excellent academics and outstanding tennis playing accomplishments."  Domijan is following in the footsteps of giants here; Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh also won that award.  He's clearly proven himself a worthy heir to the legacy of past UVa tennis stars.